New judges assigned to Karadzic trial

A048455722.jpgAMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic got his wish for a different judge on Thursday when the U.N. tribunal for former Yugoslavia assigned his war crimes case to a new chamber on procedural grounds.

Earlier this week, Karadzic demanded the United Nations tribunal in The Hague replace the judges who are overseeing the preparatory stage of his trial for charges including genocide.

When prosecutors informed the tribunal that they were no longer trying to combine Karadzic’s case with that of another suspect, his case was assigned to a different trial chamber.

Karadzic, arrested in July after 11 years on the run, had argued the pre-trial presiding judge, Alphons Orie, had a “personal interest” in his case because he had participated in previous trials and would want those judgments validated.

A tribunal official said the assignment of new judges for the case was not in response to Karadzic’s request.

The tribunal said later that Karadzic’s motion to the president of the U.N. body was moot because the case had been assigned to a different trial chamber, which includes judges Patrick Robinson, Jean-Claude Antonetti and Iain Bonomy.

The tribunal has not yet named a presiding judge.

Karadzic is due back in court on August 29, where he will be asked to enter a plea for the second time. If he refuses, as he did at his July 31 initial appearance, a plea of “not guilty” will be entered for him.

Karadzic is before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to face two charges of genocide over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War Two.

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